Classroom Resources

10 Do’s and Don’ts for effective vocabulary

We know that there is a strong relationship between vocabulary and reading comprehension. Systematic vocabulary instruction must be an integral component of a K-12 comprehensive instructional framework. While there is no one correct way to teach vocabulary, common characteristics of effective vocabulary instruction have been documented in many professional journals and books. And yet, recent results for vocabulary reveal no significant change in vocabulary scores for 4th- and 8th-grade students. In short, we still have a long way to go to improve vocabulary instruction and student word learning. Effective vocabulary instruction across grade levels and content areas is key. Whether you implement vocabulary process or integrate digital tools into your instructional toolkit, the 10 Do’s and Don’ts highlighted in this infographic can help you drill down to the basics and strengthen your instruction. It can also set the stage for discussions to improve vocabulary instruction and word learning across classrooms in your setting.


Classroom Resources

Stereotypes Lesson Plan

This topic is always interesting and really gets students talking and giving their opinion. It’s always interesting to hear how other nations see others. I created this lesson plan last summer when I had a multi-national group of students from Japan to Argentina. Of course, you first need to make sure your students won’t get offended by this topic and can handle it. Also you’ll need access to some technology to make life easier as there is a video involved in the lesson.


If you use it with a monolingual group of students, I’d be really interested to know how it goes as I haven’t. You might ask Ss to pretend they are from other countries as an idea.

This lesson will focus on speaking in the form of giving opinions and views. It also has a reading where students are required to read quickly for key information. Additionally it builds on vocabulary and expressions for describing people and habits.

  1. Introduce the lesson by handing out the following or displaying the following on the board.

// In a perfect world the police are …. the cooks are…. the mechanics are ….. the lovers are…… and everything is organised by the ….. // – I think this idea was taken from New English File, but I’m not sure.

Let Ss fill in the answers before asking them to share. In feedback you can elaborate on some of the answers and focus on any general language or mistakes that might come up.

2. Show Ss the American flag and ask them to generate some words that they connect with American, good and bad.

In feedback ask Ss to share their ideas before telling them that you are going to show them a video.

  1. Tell Ss you are going to show them a video in which different people give their opinion about America. Tell them each person speaks in their own language, including English, so it is there job to read the subtitles and listening for how each country’s person describes America.

The cities in the video are

Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Adelaide, Berlin, Bogotá, Dubai, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Tokyo, New Deli.

Give the students the opportunity to watch the video twice before going through the answers and asking if there are any surprising answers and did they say the same things as you?

Answers: Addis Ababa – Paradise – full of god – full of resources

Bangkok – obese – food

Adelaide – don’t travel much – don’t know much about the world – optimistic

Berlin – dumb – fast food – patriotic

Bogotá – entertainment – show business

Dubai – culture – MTV – JT BS

Paris – don’t know geography – think they are always right

Rome – large portions of food – no quality

Shanghai – white people – American dream

Tokyo – pizza, very active – aggressive – open and happy

New Delhi – freedom – justice – good music bands

  1. Tell Ss you’re going to give them a list of countries and ask them to work with their partner to think of an adjective or expression to describe each country. You might use the country you are in as an example.

Here are the countries I used. Of course you can add, change, and chop them.

China France

Italy Poland

Norway Switzerland

Colombia Romania

England England

Spain Sweden

Ireland Germany

Russia Brazil

Saudi Arabia Jamaica

  1. Tell Ss you went on the Internet and took some comments from people talking about other countries. Give an example of your own country and then hand out the list at the end of the post. It has some language your students may not know in bold. Encourage peer teaching and monitor and help groups who are struggling.

These comments are not real and were typed up by me. You can change them and come up with your own if you like. There is also no right or wrong answer, so you can choose whatever country you want to to connect them. In feedback go over the answers and clarify the bold adjectives and expressions in the task.

You will probably want to have some kind of remember stage here to help the students remember any newly learnt vocabulary or expression. I had an upper-intermediate / advanced group when I did this, so I used an impromptu member game here.

  1. To end the lesson and try and re-enforce the use of the previously adjectives and to allow Ss to talk about their own country’s. Give the students the below on a handout and give them a few minutes to think over their answers before getting up and mingling with other students to allow them to share their own country’s.

If you have students from the same country, then put them together to allow them work as one.


Stereotypes – Right down 3 stereotypes about your country that are not true that people think about your country. Get ready to explain your answers in detail.




Describe your countrymen and women, good and bad, and then share with the group.

Good        Bad

1.            1.

2.            2.

3.            3.


Their girls are hot. They all look like supermodels!

They are very positive, open, friendly, and are usually very good on the dance floor

They’re not the brightest bulb in the shop. They’re all a bit ‘big’ too

They always stick together and rarely mix with others. They are also very loud.

They’re arrogant. They think they are better than others and usually look down on others. They also usually are reluctant to speak other languages

They’re all loaded! Fashionable clothes and they drive around in flash cars

They are very easy-going. Good cooks, but usually are high all the time.

The men are like animals. All they care about is bedding the next woman

They are too serious and don’t really have a laugh

They are hard-working students, always focused, but are shy when speaking

They are funny, warm, and usually up for a laugh. They use lots of body language

They have a weird sense of humour. They always drink too much alcohol, especially abroad.

They can come across as rude. They aren’t very considerate, and usually are very insensitive.

They are always taking pictures. They are very respectful, but a little shy.

Mr TEFL – Sharing ideas and lesson plans for the ELT classroom
Teachers only

How do you mend a broken school?

On Linda Cliatt-Wayman‘s first day as principal at a failing high school in North Philadelphia, she was determined to lay down the law. But she soon realized the job was more complex than she thought. With palpable passion, she shares the three principles that helped her turn around three schools labeled “low-performing and persistently dangerous.” Her fearless determination to lead — and to love the students, no matter what — is a model for leaders in all fields.

Why you should listen

Linda Cliatt-Wayman grew up in poverty in North Philadelphia, where she experienced firsthand the injustice being perpetrated against poor students in their education. She has dedicated her career and her life to ending that injustice, working within Philadelphia’s fractured public-school system. She spent 20 years as a special-ed teacher before becoming a principal, leading two low-performing urban high schools to success with improved test scores and increased college admissions among students.

Now at Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion High School, Wayman and her team are once again proving what is possible for low-income children. Test scores have improved every year since Wayman took over, and the school was removed from the federal Persistently Dangerous Schools List for the first time in five years. Diane Sawyer and her team spent the 2012-2013 school year documenting Wayman’s efforts for ABC World News Tonight and Nightline.


Classroom Resources, Improve your English

Family vocabulary


Your mother and father are your parents who care for you while you are growing.
Father: a person’s male parent. We usually call our father Dad or Daddy.
Mother: a person’s female parent. We usually call our mother Mum or Mummy.

Grandfather: a father of a person’s parent. We usually call our grandfather grandad (US granddad) or grandpa.
Grandmother: a mother of a person’s parent. We usually call our grandmother gran, grandma or granny.

Your brothers and sisters are your siblings with same parents.
Brother: a male person with the same parents as another person
Sister: a female person with the same parents as another person

Our uncle and aunt are the siblings of our parents.
Uncle: a brother of a person’s parent; a husband of a person’s aunt
Aunt: a sister of a person’s parent; a wife of a person’s uncle

Your son and daughter are your children.

Son: a male child
Daughter: a female child
Cousin (also first cousin): a child of a person’s aunt or uncle
Nephew: a son of a person’s sibling
Niece: a daughter of a person’s sibling

The child of your son or daughter is your grandchild.
Grandson: a son of a person’s child
Granddaughter: a daughter of a person’s child

The partner in marriage is our spouse. Our wife or husband is our spouse.
Husband: a male partner
Wife: a female partner

Parents of the spouse
Father-in-law: a father of a person’s spouse
Mother-in-law: a mother of a person’s spouse
Brother-in-law: a brother of a person’s spouse
Sister-in-law: a sister of a person’s spouse

Your ex-wife or ex-husband is your former partner in marriage.

Half-brother: a male person who has either the same mother or the same father (but not both) as another person
Half-sister: a female person who has either the same mother or the same father (but not both) as another person

Stepmother: new wife of a person’s father in a second marriage
Stepfather: a new husband of a person’s mother in a second marriage

Your stepbrother or stepsister is the child of your stepparent but not your biological parent.

Collocations with family members

lone, single, widowed father

a father of two/three etc.

lone, single, unmarried, widowed mother

a mother of two/three etc.

big, elder, older, little, younger, full, half, twin brother/sister
maternal, paternal uncle/aunt
future, ex-, former, house husband/wife